Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Invisible Primary: Visible -- Did Glenn Youngkin Run for 2024?

Thoughts on the invisible primary and links to the goings on of the moment as 2024 approaches...

First, over at FHQ Plus...
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Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) seemed to pass on a 2024 presidential bid in response to a question on Monday, May 1. 
Wall Street Journal editor-at-large Gerard Baker asked Youngkin on Monday at a “Governing America” conversation with the Milken Institute: “Are you going to be dusting off that fleece jacket and getting out on the presidential campaign trail later this year? 
“No ... I’m going to be working in Virginia this year,” Youngkin said.
This is not exactly news. Youngkin has stated numerous times that his focus is on Virginia and the state legislative elections in the Old Dominion later this year. The new element yesterday was the no. Yes, some are picking up on that "this year" that was appended to the no, but that makes this more of a Sherman-ish rather than Shermanesque statement. It may provide an out next year, but the cold, hard truth of the matter is that if Youngkin is not entering the race this year, then he is not going to get in next year (or is unlikely to do so successfully anyway). Things can certainly change between now and then. However, it is perhaps fantastical (at this time) that Trump would collapse and all the other challengers to him for the Republican nomination would fall flat, opening the door to a white knight to come to the rescue. Again, that is fantasy, but a fantasy that is entertained by some every four years when the US goes through the exercise that is the presidential nomination process. There may be something of a repeat of 2012's discover-scrutiny-decline phenomenon in the 2024 Republican presidential nomination race, as Seth Masket notes, but getting a discovery surge to take off in 2024 during the primaries is just a tall order. 

"This year" effectively means "I'm not running."

Yet, the fact that Youngkin is out(-ish) does raise a question. Did the Virginia governor run for 2024? That is a tough question to answer. Clearly, Youngkin traveled, but it was not to, shall we say, calendar-specific locales like DeSantis or Pompeo or Haley have done. Nor did he, as the governor noted in his response to Baker at Milken, put out a book as DeSantis and Pompeo have done. However, the travel that he did do -- to New York, to Texas etc. -- was often to meet with big donors. Clearly there was some testing of the waters -- on both sides -- in those meetings. It was enough that those same donors questioned whether or not Youngkin was even into the idea of running at all. 

Did Youngkin run? Again, that is tough to discern. He did some things that prospective presidential candidates do, but fell well short of what some of those who have entered or look to be entering the 2024 race have done. And that is a good example of the conceptual squishiness of the notion of running for 2024 but not running in 2024. Where does one draw the line? Are interactions between a possible candidate and donors enough? Because outside of that, all that is really out there is some constant chatter about a Republican who won an off-year gubernatorial election in a blue state making a reasonable presidential candidate and folks asking said Republican about whether he is running or not. 

Youngkin is simply not a clear case.

UPDATE: Apparently Team Youngkin is trying to push the door back open on 2024. But yeah, see above.

Okay. Here is another line from that Richmond Times-Dispatch story on Youngkin:
As for wiggle room, Youngkin said he would not embark on a presidential campaign “this year.” But the Republican Iowa caucuses are Feb. 5, 2024.
Nope. The Republican Iowa caucuses are still not scheduled for February 5, 2024. They never have been. If anything, Youngkin has even less "wiggle room." The caucuses are likely to be in early to mid-January next year

Speaking of early primaries, there is no date for the Georgia presidential primary. It will not be on February 13 as the Democratic National Committee may want, but Greg Bluestein at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution looks at the options Secretary Brad Raffensperger (R) has before him in terms of where he may schedule the primary for next year. 

Georgia can hold a single primary for both parties as early as March 1 under RNC rules. Any earlier than that and Republicans in the Peach state would be vulnerable to the RNC super penalty for timing violations. That would knock the Georgia delegation to the Milwaukee convention down to just twelve delegates. 

Democrats' efforts to push the primary up to the February 13 position prescribed in the new DNC rules are likely to be futile given those penalties. And now that Michigan has passed legislation to move into its February 27 spot -- not to mention that the DNC has now also adopted its rules -- flipping Georgia and Michigan in the order seems out of the question. 

However, if the DNC is serious about nudging the Georgia primary into the pre-window and it does not mind a Michigan-and-then-Georgia pairing to close the pre-window, then perhaps the Georgia primary could fit into the space between the Michigan primary on February 27 and Super Tuesday on March 5.

Saturday, March 2 would work.

On this date...
...in 1972, Sen. Scoop Jackson (D-WA) withdrew from the race for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination on the same day as primaries in Alabama, Indiana, Ohio and Washington, DC. Jackson won just once, in his home state of Washington.

...in 2000, Bush and Gore swept through late season primaries in Indiana, North Carolina and Washington, DC.

...in 2012, Newt Gingrich suspended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

...in 2019, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D) announced his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. 

...in 2020, Kansas Democrats concluded their party-run presidential primary.


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